ALYN Smith’s Wednesday article made a persuasive case for an independent Scotland joining Nato (UK security treaty with EU would aid indy Scotland, Jun 14) but he’s in too much of a hurry to get that under way and perhaps doesn’t sufficiently consider Scotland’s heritage values and her hope to engage more widely, indeed everywhere, with our brother man for the betterment of our common lot.

In previous articles Alyn has broadly regarded Nato and the EU as sister clubs of appeal for us. And, encouraged by the EU’s recent financial contribution to Ukraine, he does it again here, emphasising their common interest in Western security.

READ MORE: Alister Jack insists UK international representation benefits Scotland

But these are two vastly different institutions, the one a trading group that has brought peace to historically war-torn Europe since its inception (though recently paying more attention to security); the other a “security” force that has been involved in conflicts far removed from the North Atlantic. Its setting up of nuclear bases ever further eastward (reportedly against advice from some of its own people) has been suggested as a cause of the war in Ukraine.

There has always been a large part of the SNP membership opposed to Nato membership and some of Alyn’s phraseology doesn’t sufficiently acknowledge that: “As we aspire to membership of both institutions...”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon speaks in public for first time since arrest

And in his conclusions there is a hint that our very entry into the EU might hang on our knowing what is good for us and doing the right thing: “With the EU the manner by which we gain independence will shape how we are seen as potential candidates.”

But the decision whether to apply for Nato membership isn’t Alyn’s, nor the SNP’s, nor even the current Scottish Government’s. It is an elected independent Scottish Parliament’s.

Independence is the fundamental, holy right of all nations, yet ours is being virulently denied. When we have won our birthright, let us forever treasure it, and in the meantime seek not to prostitute and shackle its fine free spirit and purity by pre-conditions and “understandings”, no matter how temporarily seductive and convenient these seem.

John Melrose

I AM what some people used to call a “Kinsey 6” – a gay man who whose orientation has been entirely towards men. That includes some trans men, and I have lesbian friends in relationships with trans women.

Now Joanna Cherry wants to amend the Equality Act to exclude me and my friends from the legal definition of lesbian and gay (The benefits of UK clarifying what ‘sex’ means would be widespread, Jun 16). There may be many lesbian and gay people who have never been attracted to a trans person – that is their experience and choice. There are many who have – that is theirs.

Joanna Cherry wants the Equality Act to define sexual orientation solely on the basis of what was written in the sex box on the original birth certificate of a person’s partner. But people are not attracted to birth certificates; we are attracted to the whole person.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak makes joke about trans women in leaked video

Campaigning for LGBT equality, especially in the 1980s and 90s, meant repeatedly speaking out against common claims by opponents of equality. One claim was that LGBT people are defined solely by our genitals and what we do with them. Another was “I don’t mind you being gay, so long as you’re the right kind of gay, the kind I approve of”. It is very disappointing to see Joanna Cherry reheating both of these positions in 2023.

Of course this is all happening because gender-critical campaigners want to exclude trans people from Equality Act protection as their lived sex. The current culture war against trans people hits trans people worst, but it affects everyone who believes in the freedom of people just to get on with their own lives.

Tim Hopkins
Director, Equality Network

IN 2015, Edinburgh Women for Independence wanted to honour women. After September 2014, we didn’t stop but as Winnie said, we reconvened and carried on.

We organised a campaign called Women for Justice and Justice for Women, campaigning against the proposed building of a new women’s super prison. Just a start, and we’re still here.

But alongside that and our regular monthly meetings, we wanted to recognise and honour women for all that they were doing in the run-up to the referendum and into 2015.

We didn’t have loads of money, we were self-financing. But we organised “The Margos” – yes, that title, for obvious reasons! – and held a fantastic afternoon honouring women from across Edinburgh and Scotland.

The categories were chosen and our members voted. Who was our Woman of the Year? That’s right ... Lindsay Jarrett.

What a woman! What a loss! But having just read your article about her passing away (Tributes paid to Yesser who tied sign to castle, Jun 14), I had to send you these fond memories.

Selma Rahman